Rock Block is our original patch of Tempranillo, full of the limestone and volcanic rhyolite typical of the vineyard. Pretty and lifted jubey blueberry and plum fruit without sightly lower than usual intensity of florals and eucalypt. Rich and plush on the palate, with good grip and structure, this is a spectacular Rock Block.
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The 0.363ha block was planted with four clones of tempranillo in ’00, Frank van de Loo using the standard pre-fermentation cold soak, wild yeast and hand plunging, 49 dozen made. There is a large bowl of flowers and a distinctive array of soft spices. This is my choice of this group of tempranillos, but I do wonder why a mixed dozen (with the main release leading the way) wasn’t part of the release. 96 points (James Halliday)
Very deep purple/red colour, with an aroma of black fruits and a slight minty note. Deep, rich and ripe aromas; balsamic herbs. Intense and slightly lean profile, but elegant, taut, linear and refined. 93 points (Huon Hooke)
One of three single-site bottlings of Tempranillo, selected for their distinctive character from within our 9.3Ha vineyard. Rock Block (0.363Ha, 670-680m elevation) is our original patch of tempranillo, planted in 2000 mainly to clone D8V12 with small amounts of requena, tinta roriz, D8V13 and CL770. The short east-facing rows span a reef of rhyolite, with limestone intermixed; it is among the rockiest patches in our vineyard, but has well-structured red clay-loam soil allowing good root penetration. The stand of yellow box trees below one corner of the block causes some devigoration, and contributes eucalypt-derived aromatics to the wine; it is always the most fragrant parcel.
The 2017-2018 was the second-warmest season on record behind 2016, but due to consistently warm and dry conditions rather than any extreme heat. Timing of budburst and harvest were fairly normal. Conditions for vine growth and development were good and disease pressure was low. Weather during vintage was exceptional, consistently warm and dry apart from one downpour in late February which caused little trouble. Warm sunny days were balanced by cool nights giving a high diurnal temperature range. Quality is exciting across the board, with the later ripening varieties perhaps benefiting the most.
Hand picked 27 March 2018, at 13.2 Baumé. Had 5 days pre-ferment maceration, then wild-fermented in an open vat with hand plunging. Pressed to French oak (mainly one year old) after 9 days post-ferment maceration. Unfined and lightly filtered. Bottled under screwcap January 2019; 49 dozen made. Alcohol 14.0% by volume. Vegan friendly?: Yes.
Drink now to 2038.